“Just wait a few days before saying your prayers.”
I was in Brussels recording Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti when ‘Around the World in a Day’ was released, it was constantly on my Walkman. I walked around the city treading sprightly to the exotic expression of each song, i was hearing pop songs but from another place. Its originality and its simplicity was the perfect daily counter balance to what was a complicated time for me. A few years later and i went to Wembley to see Prince perform, backstage i cued up to meet him, he was sitting in a Bedouin tent. Bob Geldof and myself stood and waited, after too long we peeled away and went to the bar agreeing was it really worth it. It seemed like cuing up in Selfridges to see Santa Clause but without the presents. I half followed his career and found the sexuality in his music often too much, yet his musicianship extraordinary. In 1993 I was lucky enough to sit next to him at an Oscars party, sadly a big security person came up to me and asked me to move across the table and not attempt to talk to him, he sat alone and said nothing with a fork covered with a leaf of salad and a glass of water on the side. Behind a black headscarf i could clearly see his eyes and the distance they created to everyone in the room. Last year i went to see him perform at The Shepards Bush Empire, me and Josh from The Strypes sat with our mouths open in the balcony as he played like Hendrix and commanded the Universe from his simple facial expressions. I was close enough to see his eyes again, this time they invited me in, he was embracing all around him with his music and his 5 pound ticket to his pop up shows. The following week i went to Manchester and saw him there too, this time the room was all standing, dancing hugging and smiling, it was a love filled room, what was not to like. I had never seen so many men dancing before, dancing like woman, it was mesmerising.
His dedication to his art was like that of Zappa’s he had everything and everyone at his fingertips, musicians included. This year i heard about his piano and microphone tour, i was watching on the web hoping it would come to the UK, on Tidal i listened to the tracks he exclusively dedicated to his fans on the site and i was excited, looking forward to hearing him play so stripped back. Sadly that wont be the case. I now think about my own dedication to my music i think about each breath and each Spring and Summer that passes my way, its exhausting thinking about what might be and where time spins our lives. There is a massive hole in the here and now, so many great people have passed recently, where is the next Bowie, Reed, Prince, Emerson, where in all of the music schools in the World are there such dedicated and special people with the talent that money can’t buy.
You are born with all you need, Prince was born with more of everything and to accommodate that he spent his life recording every song that skimmed across his purple pond. There was little time for life itself, little time for family and possibly for underpants. Its a balance, and I’m in daily turmoil with myself as i seek that balance. The ego wants me to be and to step into the light, but there is a huge pull for me to just except that i wont ever be Prince, I wont ever be Bowie i wont be famous in that way, and so I’m happy with everything in my life. To the last page which is written for all of us, to the sunshine waiting behind the clouds, to the stage where less is more and more is more or less, and finally back to the streets of Brussels and Pop life. Everyone needs a thrill.